You know what’s super fun? Tossing dollar bills out the window! There’s nothing like driving down a country road in the middle of summer and throwing money out the window. I’m just kidding. That’s terrible. None of us would throw out money out the window! But how many of us are wasting money?
In life, you should be spending on things that a) you love and/or b) you need. That’s it. There are no other exceptions. If you don’t love it or need it, you are wasting cash. Let’s talk about the things you are throwing money away on.
1) Unused subscriptions and memberships. I don’t care how much you totally want to make it to the gym, if you aren’t going, money is being wasted. You need to cancel all unused subscriptions. Don’t think you have any? Let’s examine.
Gym, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Costco, magazines, and beauty/pet/baby product subscription boxes. If you are paying for any of these things and not using them, you need to cancel them. Now. I’ll wait.
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2) Unused data. The reason your rent and your smart phone bill are approximately the same amount is because you are paying for data you aren’t using. When’s the last time you analyzed? Log in to your online cell phone account and make sure you aren’t paying for data that is going unused.
While you are at it, examine your texts and minutes if you aren’t on an unlimited plan. There’s no reason to over-pay for communications when your hermit self isn’t talking to anyone.
3) Wasted food. Food is expensive and there are people all over the world starving to death — don’t waste your food! It makes you look like a jerk and it’s a total waste of money. Eating in? Make sure you are using everything you buy before it expires. Eating out? Wrap up leftovers to eat again the next day!
If you toss just $10 worth a food each week, that’s $520 tossed per year. Ten years later, you’ve wasted over 5 grand because you can’t seem to get a handle on your food supply.
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4) Travel sized & fun portions. Fun portions are not fun at all, they are just overpriced. Using travel sized products are such a rip-off! Instead, purchase larger items and portion them out yourself.
For shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. for travel, purchase reusable plastic travel sized bottles and fill them up with your full-size versions. For snacks, make your own 100 calorie packs with plastic bags and serving sizes. It’s not that hard and it will save you TONS of money.
5) Bank fees and annual credit card fees. Unless you are getting some SERIOUS benefits that you wouldn’t get at a fee-free bank, you need to ditch the fees. Try negotiating the fees with your bank and be willing to walk away if they won’t budge.
While you’re at it, stop paying ATM fees. A cash emergency every once in a blue moon is okay, but if you are regularly paying to use another bank’s ATM you are wasting cash. Either change banks or go to your own when you need cash.
6) Extended warranties. These are the biggest scam ever (I would know, I’ve fallen for the warranty pitch one too many times). Products that require a warranty usually come with a one-year warranty.
For an EXTENDED warranty, put your purchase on a credit card. Credit cards cover up to an extra year of warranty. Awesome, right? Just say “no” the next time a salesman corners you with scare tactics. I can almost guarantee you will never use that extra warranty. Ever.
Related: 12 Ways to Save Money Eating Out
7) Items that you haven’t compared prices on. Don’t buy something for more than you have to. Let’s say you are looking to buy a piece of clothing. Have you checked prices in other stores? Have you looked for a coupon code or online rebate? If not, you shouldn’t buy it yet.
A quick way to do this is check everything against Amazon.com. It usually has the cheapest prices. If Amazon beats it, either order it online or ask the store if they price match. Always get the lowest price you can. ALWAYS.
8) Late fees. If you are disorganized and can’t seem to get your schedule together, you are going to throw away so much money on late fees from bills that you forgot about.
Instead, set up automatic payments on all of your bills. It will take 10-15 minutes and you’ll never pay a late fee again!
9) Interest. Compounding interest can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on what side you are on. If you are paying interest on debts (with the possible exception of your mortgage), you are wasting money. So. Much. Money.
By paying off your debt quickly, you will eliminate a great deal of future interest. Plow through your debt so you aren’t throwing so much money away.
Related: 10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries
10) Unused 401(k) match. Basic rule of thumb: don’t ever pass up free money. If your company offers a match on your retirement account, you better be contributing up to the match. Free money is the greatest thing ever, take advantage of it!
11) Cable TV. Hear me out, now. Cable TV is a waste IF: your shows are available on Hulu Plus, Netflix, HBO Go, and/or Amazon. These services are way cheaper than cable and can be streamed through your laptop or video game console.
Sports fans who can’t stream their games online and don’t have a best friend with cable will probably keep this “money waste” in their lives. That’s fine! It’s just a waste for those who don’t really need it.
You wouldn’t toss money mindlessly out a window, so don’t throw it away on these silly, unnecessary things. Keep money in your wallet, where it belongs.
What do you think the biggest money wasters are? How many of these money wasting mistakes have you made?